FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2009 | Contact: Elouise Brown, Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Committee President – www.doodadesertrock.com
DOODA (NO) DESERT ROCK RELIEF AT US EPA ENVIRONMENTAL
APPEALS BOARD PSD PERMIT DECISION
“We are relieved to hear that the US EPA Environmental Appeals Board finally granted the agency’s request to take back the clean air permit for the failed Desert Rock Power Plant. It confirms our position that the initial permit grant was ill-considered and premature,” said Elouise Brown, President of Dooda Desert Rock. The organization, a grassroots Navajo effort to block a third coal-fired power plant in the Four Corners area, continues to resist and have a very active encampment for almost three years.
“The appeals board decision confirms our belief, echoed in the British news magazine The Economist, that Desert Rock is dead. Recent efforts in Congress to freeze the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to deal with carbon dioxide as a pollutant shows that Big Coal also recognizes that polluting energy is on its way out. We have a specific reason for gratitude at the return of the permit,” Brown said.
“When the air permit was initially under consideration the San Francisco Region 9 US EPA office found a study that indicates that the two existing power plants are adversely affecting the health of Navajos in the Shiprock Area. Cold weather and the Hogback formation pull pollution down into Shiprock and that causes Navajos to seek medical treatment for respiratory illness at rates far higher than the rest of the population in the Four Corners area. Children and the elderly are affected at a rate of ten times the rest of the population. The EPA warned the Bureau of Indian Affairs about the situation and told it to act, but it did nothing. We want something done about existing health risks now.”
“While we believe that the power plant is dead, the debate continues. There are many issues to address, including the fact that ordinary Navajos would get no economic benefit from the plant because local infrastructure was ignored in planning. At minimum, we want the health issue addressed first, and in a way that satisfies us that the health of Navajos is being protected. If anyone doubts what is going on in Shiprock, just drive north toward Shiprock on a cold day.”